Conservation Stewardship Program sign-up extended
Landowners nationwide have the opportunity to recoup costs of habitat improvement on their land through a recently extended federal program. The sign-up period for the Conservation Stewardship Program has been extended through June 25.
The program, which is administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. The voluntary program offers payments to landowners who exercise quality land stewardship and want to improve the effectiveness of their conservation efforts.
“This is a tremendous winwin opportunity for landowners and wildlife,” said James Earl Kennamer, chief conservation officer of the National Wild Turkey Federation. “By signing up for this program, landowners will be able to make critical habitat improvements and can then be reimbursed for expenses. Improved habitat for wildlife is very important to many of our members and the CSP program is a valuable resource.”
Reimbursable expenses may include land management plans completed by NWTF biologists, and seed and seedlings purchased through the NWTF.
CSP pays participants based on conservation performance– the higher the performance, the higher the payment. Landowners get credit both for conservation measures they have already implemented and for new measures they agree to add.
CSP is available to all landowners, regardless of operation size, crops produced or geographic location. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, rangeland, non-industrial private forest land and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of a Native American tribe.
Potential applicants are encouraged to use the CSP selfscreening checklist to determine whether CSP is suitable for their operation. The checklist, which highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, contract obligations and payments, and additional information about CSP, may be obtained from the CSP website at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/ new_csp/csp.html.
To apply, call or visit a local USDA Service Center, listed online at offices.usda.gov, or in the telephone book under United States Government, Agriculture Department.
For information on seed, seedlings or for habitat plans, landowners can contact their local NWTF biologist or call 1-800-THE-NWTF.